If you love history, longed for a colder weather and craved for a rather different approach to travelling, here are our top picks that will inspire you to do all that
Cold historic places to visit in Asia
Step Inside the Potala Palace in Tibet | altitude: 3,700m
Immerse yourself in the story and unique culture of Tibet held for centuries, especially how the Dalai Lama is believed to be found than chosen. Visit the Potala Palace, Tibet’s symbol that was built more than 1300 years ago by the Tubo Kingdom. It was meant for the princess of the Tang Dynasty whom he was about to marry. Imagine how this building suffered from a great deal of damage from several wars and natural disasters. It’s hard to tell because the fifth Dalai Lama rebuilt the palace for religious and government purpose in the 17th century. The palace eventually became Dalai Lama’s residence in Tibet until he had to leave the country due to the Chinese suppression of a national uprising in Tibet in 1959.
Marvel at the beautiful views of Tibet from this sacred palace that’s considered as the highest palace in the world, as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records and it’s also one of the World Heritage Sites in Tibet.
Tip: Best time to visit this palace is during winter at the time of the pilgrimages
Hike up the Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan | altitude: 2,195m
Bhutan ( “Druk-yul” or “Land of the Thunder Dragon”) is the last sacred Buddhist Kingdom, which became popular for its unique measure of happiness through Gross National Happiness. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava (“Guru Rimpoche”) flew to Paro valley in Bhutan, known as Tiger’s Nest on a tigress’ back across the mountains in the 8th Century. He was believed to have conquered the demon spirits challenged the spread of Buddhism at Taktsang. Explore the two of the most important Buddhish temples named Kyichu Monastery in Paro and Jambay Monastery in Bumthang, built back in the 17th century to pin a demoness down to Earth. This eventually caused the influence of the shamanistic religion, Bon to fade.
Visit Bhutan to travel back in time, where you’ll meet the locals in a precinct of a monastery and learn about how this country thrived using a formula that preserved such traditional culture in history.
Tip: Be prepared to do a 2-3 hours hiking (4.5km). You can ride a horse up half way to the monastery
Spend a night in a Mongolian Monastery | altitude: 1,580m
Understand the story behind Temujin, later Genghis Khan (“universal king”) who came to power by uniting the Mongolians in the 12th century. He formed the Mongol empire, the largest contiquous empire in history and conquered different parts of the world, including China, Russia and some parts of Europe. After Genghis Khan’s death, Mongolia was eventually split into different kingdoms. Mongolia came under China and later on Russia domination. In 1990, the communist ended the monopoly that works towards Mongol traditions and taking neutral stance in international affairs
Most of Mongolia areas are high above sea level and thus, the weather is mostly dry and extremely cold. Some of the things you can do are staying in ger camps, visiting a nomadic family, going for horseback riding and wearing authentic Mongolia costume.
These destinations are the perfect choices to explore alone, in pairs or in groups where the most of the palaces are accessible despite the high altitudes. Traveling or living somewhere completely new breaks the routine and create a dramatic shift that provide you with a new perspective that’s different from what you might have read about it. All you will need is to a proper itinerary, preparedness to walk quite a fair bit and a readiness to develop a new sense appreciation of history.
Interested to know how you should go about embracing your inner history buff? Tell us what you are planning on your next trip
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